We dearly miss all of our volunteers that do not currently have the opportunity to come in and volunteer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to welcoming them back when it is safe to do so.
In the meantime, we were lucky enough to talk to one of our frequent volunteers, Tracy Johns! She serves as a community service coordinator at an outreach based in Maryland.
How do you feel about service and giving back?
Giving back is extremely important to me because I truly have a love of service. My mom was very involved in funding multiple not-for-profits and served as the director of a group of Senior Citizens Day Care Centers in NYC, so we learned the importance of helping the elderly at a very young age.
That seed was planted deeply in me, and as I grew into an adult, the opportunity to help someone in need just always brought me so much joy and satisfaction.
How did you first get involved with SOME?
I first got involved with SOME when I moved into the DMV and was working privately as a tutor and chaperone for a family with two young sons. I was put in charge of locating interesting ways for the two boys to accumulate the required service hours.
I searched for a soup kitchen, and SOME was brought to my attention. We fell in love at the first visit! Over the years, I have brought multiple groups of students and adults to participate in a very diverse selection of SOME events.
What do you like the most about volunteering at SOME?
I love the expressions on the faces of the SOME clients—whether they’re children, adults, or seniors—when I have the chance to share a kind word over pouring coffee or serving a plate. It’s also great to have the knowledge that we can put our hand to cheering runners on at the Trot, helping raise funds to continue the extremely important services and programs SOME provides.
One of the nicest interactions I can mention happened one year ago, when our group made Valentine cards and treat bags, and brought them into the dining room to hand out to the diners who showed up on that day. They were so touched that we added a little extra oomph to the breakfast and lunch in the form of that very simple gift.
What would you say to somebody thinking about volunteering?
I would suggest anyone who wants to make a quality decision about volunteering, particularly if they are not sure what they want to do, to look for an opportunity with SOME.
Over the years we have seen several coordinators for the soup kitchen, the Trot, and other activities like a playground build or cleaning up at the Dwelling Place, and no matter who may serve in the coordinator role, it has always been a way to work with an organization whose heart is truly the people it provides for.